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Wednesday: NaDruWriNi: Every Perv's Battle

I haven't talked about the side reading I've been doing for the sixteenth. (Or the seventeenth. It depends on how well everything goes.) Fortunately, some of it has very little useful application to the central work, so I can talk about it without fear.

I hadn't kept up very well with the American evangelical Christian "sexual purity" movement in recent years. The rhetoric didn't seem significantly different from what I'd run across as a teenager, or at the start of adulthood. Secondary virgins, premarital tongue kissing is a steep slope to slide, yes, yes, yes. I get better explanations of why oral sex is problematic to this worldview with my breakfast cereal. (Most of them necessitate a broader view of what constitutes "purity" or "sex," let alone virginity, but you really ought to wait for the marvelous Hanne Blank's upcoming book for the latter.)

As pornography became more and more of a going online concern, of course, I was captivated by the whole notion of "porn addiction" -- moreso, of course, the bizarre notion that such afflictions were largely the purview of men; most of the people I knew who enjoyed and produced the stuff were, and are, female. They've done studies? Whatever. Men are visual in studies? Whatever. That's not my observation, and that's not the life I know.

(Apparently I live on a different planet. You know, the one where you can have a few silicone wangs and it's not, you know, the stuff of NIGHTMARES. The one where you read On Our Backs and it's not about abstract notions of how breasts are sexual objects to men and maybe some lesbians, or humouring onlookers. The one where the old "men are visual and women are emotional and that's it" saw just doesn't exist. The one where you default to expecting that chicks like both, and it's not just about making a point or having a rebellion?)

Anyhow. Porn addiction: apparently that's every man's battle. (The hell. But more on that.)

I've known a few people who couldn't reconcile their taste for porn with their belief system, so phrased their struggle in the language of addiction. It made sense in one case, inasmuch as anyone can have a hobby which spins right out of control and takes over their lives. It didn't always wash, though. More often, it just registered as fear. It's not that they had an addiction.

It's that they indulged occasionally.

"I had a glass of beer once a week at the pub. I'm an alcoholic."

Fair enough if your faith or worldview doesn't permit you to include porn consumption as an expression of your sexuality. That's fine. Lots of people aren't comfortable with erotic art or entertainment in any form, even if they enjoy it. But phrasing it as addiction is a really, really good way to overblow your issue, misrepresent yourself, misrepresent pornography and cause more damage than your occasional sin was doing on its own.

But you know that, right? You're not dumb.

Porn addiction was the only bit that really struck out at me as new for a very long time. I wasn't expecting "emotional affairs," which is what chicks are supposed to do. I don't think I have the language to express the ire that concept inspires in me. An emotional affair can be anything from what really is a romantic relationship with someone you haven't got leeway in your central relationship to pursue, up through and including a goddamned crush on Clark Gable. I kid thee the heck not.

And girls have this. Women have this.

Instead.

Yes, all right, fair enough. As with porn addictions, take it to the extreme and you devalue the model? But take it to the extreme and you apparently also have a fair few lucrative books.

Which brings me to True Love Waits.

Why didn't anyone tell me that the TLW campaign pretty much belongs to a Christian merchandising company named Lifeway? It's a beautiful racket. Studies demonstrate that a chastity pledge tends to last about eighteen months (so much for [REDACTED] and [OMITTED]) before you get yourself some backsliding. So, introduce your product range -- True Love Waits rings, necklaces, books, CDs, and other "inspirational" tat -- into the Christian marketplace, and put some viral marketing into play. Make your logos and your rituals freely reproducible; provide some engaging activities for youth leaders to bring into their high school groups. Make it very easy to inject those rituals into the course of a normal church service, particularly ones which, you know, if you really want to, because you could use a silver ring, of course, but you could use a TLW branded ring to remind the kids of the pledge they'll be taking. The one you wrote.

The one they can take more than once. With a new ring each time, if you like?

One you can pick up at your local Christian bookstore?

This bothers me. (It's not just TLW, either. There's Silver Ring Thing, but that's more of an event-driven operation.) TLW is the Kleenex of youth sexual purity in the United States right now, and it's rigged. Coincidentally enough, you can start a teenager on this path right now, which'll get them into senior year of high school or the first year of college. At that point, you can start in on the Waterbrook Press series of Battle books for your age group and gender -- Every Young Woman's Battle or Every Young Man's. Problem with porn? Or all-consuming crushes on more than one person? There's books and music and CDs and events for all that, too.

And then, you know, eighteen months to three years? Do as well as you can, then fall over, because you're meant to fall over. That's not what you should do, and of course it's your fault (you wouldn't keep up on this path if you didn't keep right with the Lord, right? Dude, you need to keep an eye on that). But you will.

And then the adult stuff -- Every Man or Woman's Battle -- will be there for you. In the Armed Forces? There's Every Soldier's Battle.

Of course.

Of course.

Did you know that Lifeway own several Christian bookstores?

Do you know how angry I am right now that there's an industry devoted to drawing money out of people who set themselves up for failure in their romantic and/or sexual relationships, whether through an addiction model or through the notion of any sort of fulfilling extramarital bond (notwithstanding your girlfriends, of course, because you don't want them like that) or just getting overwhelmed by hormones and hewing to the letter of the law to stay sane? That it exists to trap you, with cheap rings as a teenager and manipulative workshops as an adult, when you fall over every eighteen to thirty-six months once you've been suckered into this paradigm?

And that it works in the name of God?

You know I keep an eye on Jack Chick, and I watch TBN, and I read Left Behind. I do this stuff for more than one reason. I take the power this stuff holds out of myself, and I look at it, and I dismember it.

I remember the time a well-meaning friend tried to send me into the arms of Exodus International. He wasn't the first, but he was the most persuasive. He was misguided. He was wrong. I knew better, and thank God I was strong enough to do that much; all it took was one phone call and I could see this road ahead of me. (The book you want here is Stranger At the Gate by Mel White. It's nothing new.)

You send yourself to the workshops, you read the books, you lag one step behind the fiscal trail; in one year or three or five or ten, you stop being able to put things in the little boxes, and you fall apart. And there's the machine.

There's the machine, which tells you it can put you all back together again. For a price.

For a price.

Do you know how angry I am that they've found a way to do this for everyone else, too?

Posted by Wednesday Burns-White at November 5, 2005 11:10 PM

Comments

Comment from: Phil Kahn posted at November 5, 2005 11:40 PM

If there's a buck to be made, someone will make it.

Mother fuckers.

Good show, Weds.

Comment from: mckenzee posted at November 5, 2005 11:44 PM

Time to clear the merchants from the temple.

However, Scarface was a great scary comic.

Comment from: Bill posted at November 5, 2005 11:45 PM

I've had the dubious pleasure of watching my wife get sucked into the Left Behind vortex--- seeing the money machine that empire has created is bad enough...


This sort of stuff, designed to capitalize on expected 'failures' and straying-from-a-path? GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. STAB. STABBITY-STAB.

Comment from: The posted at November 6, 2005 12:49 AM

Thank you for writing this. I now have a critique of commercial christianity that is not hopelessly dull. This shall be shown to my Christian friends (I don't know if they'll stick around past the third paragraph, but it's worth a shot).

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at November 6, 2005 1:26 AM

Porn rules!

Comment from: Phil Kahn posted at November 6, 2005 1:30 AM

Second.

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at November 6, 2005 1:34 AM

I'm thirding MYSELF, that's how much porn rules!

Hur hur, "thirding myself" sounds all dirty and stuff!

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at November 6, 2005 1:45 AM

Okay, I want to know what breakfast cereal Weds eats.

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at November 6, 2005 1:46 AM

Masturbation!

... is what "thirding yourself" would be, because... nevermind

Porn does rule though.

Comment from: Zaq posted at November 6, 2005 1:52 AM

Waitasec, this is Weds when she's drunk?

Lies. This has to be a hateful lie of some kind. I don't usually have self esteem issues, but if that's not a lie, then I think I may have to start, if your intoxicated state is that much better than my sober state.

Lies, I tell you. There's gotta be lies here somewhere. If not in what I accuse you of, then definitely in what I tell myself, the part of myself which is now whining over how it'll never be a decent writer. Better living through denial.

Now back to this damn essay which has been in front of me for the past twelve hours and is easily some of the most contrived work I've churned out in recent memory. Let the record show that midterm season sucks.

[/whining]

Comment from: Plaid Phantom posted at November 6, 2005 2:04 AM

Time to clear the merchants from the temple.

How ironic that that is the ONE time that I remember Jesus EVER getting honest-to-God angry. With him, skewering beliefs for personal profit is just something you DON'T DO.

Comment from: Ford Dent posted at November 6, 2005 2:34 AM

See this?

This is why I keep away from organized religion. It's good for a laugh, but if I look at it too much I stop laughing and start looking for an axe.

Comment from: quiller posted at November 6, 2005 3:36 AM

Porn. The number one industry of the valley I live in, but an industry done in unmarked warehouses and secluded homes.

I have no taste for most porn. I had a job where for a while my main task was taking porn pictures making them into a new format, and creating thumbnails for them. I processed thousands of porn photos one by one. My mind picked up the patterns. It is like wedding photography. I remember going to a wedding with the photographer who was going, ok and now the best man shakes the hand of the groom. Now the groom shakes the hand of the father. He just had a list of shots and he did them. That's how most of these were. Oh yeah, these girls are so lesbian, that's why they are posing with their pussies on top of one another exposed to the camera.

If I ever was a very visual person, I'm not anymore. I need context. I need connection. I get more sexually excited by text adventure games than by photos of naked women.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 6, 2005 5:21 AM

Am I the only one who was unable to tell the difference between Wednesday's drunken posts, with her sober posts?

Comment from: Reatheran posted at November 6, 2005 7:23 AM

As far as I can tell, the drunk entries are more coherent.

Comment from: megs posted at November 6, 2005 8:57 AM

Amen!

The whole applying 'addiction' labels to things that are just bad habits you need to drop (or /feel/ the need to drop in some cases) is part of the setting folk up for failure and then profiting on that failure. If it's an addiction, you can't help yourself. You have to keep working on it all your life because you could fall at any time. They stage this 'battle' and build it up to such great importance.

McKenzee stole my comment, but I have to add that everytime I read that, I can't help but think of Ted Neely in the movie of Jesus Christ Superstar where he gets really pizzes and knocks down postcards. Twice.

Comment from: prosfilaes posted at November 6, 2005 12:29 PM

It's not like this isn't biblical. The sellers at the temple didn't have to create a demand; when living in a society where everytime you fell, you had to bring an unblemished animal to be sacrificed, there was plenty of demand for unblemished animals you didn't have to drag half way across the country or even half way across Jeruselum.

Comment from: PatMan posted at November 6, 2005 12:45 PM

"Every Soldier's Battle"

I really don't think it's every soldier's battle. But who am I to talk, I apparently can convert straight guys.


And someone tried to send you to Exodus, Weds? Eeeewww. But hey, if crying everytime they touch themselves is how they want to live their lives, then go ahead. As long as they don't drive our kids to suicide while their at it.

Comment from: FrankO posted at November 6, 2005 1:22 PM

Remind me of a comment I recently heard.

"The Lord will forgive, as long as the profit margin is high enough."

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at November 6, 2005 1:58 PM

None of you would stand up for these guys. Why not?
The guys behind the xxxchurch (I NEVER thought I'd ever hear that) are the sort of folks you've been decalring didn't exist within organized religion. They are brutally honest, they have a good sense of humor, and they exist for the sake of repentant sinners, not self-righteous blowhards who enjoying condemning people to hellfire.

As for being 'addicted' to porn, I think the label is fair. If you have a bad habit, and you know it's harmful, and you can't stop, although you want to, that's addiction. I think the Internet is going to prove to be a better drug than crack ever was (it's free, it's everywhere, it's legal, and it's occasionally way trippier than any chemical effect).

I heartily approve of these guys. They're teaching respect for sex, and they're not being prudes about it either. They're not "skewering beliefs for personal profit". They're being honest, even when otheres don't approve of their methods. I am disappointed in you all; you haven't got a single nice thing to say about guys who DON'T claim that masturbation will make you go blind (although they do appear to say that it kills kittens).

For the record, though, I do think that TLW is too big on products. I know plenty of people who can handle abstinence just fine without pledges and rings.

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at November 6, 2005 2:13 PM

I'm not gonna stand up for them, because I totally dig porn!

The "give up porn for 7 days" thing reminds me of an editorial in TV Guide way back about the guy trying the "give up TV for a week" thing and how much it drove him nuts, and how glad he was that he remembered to set up a tape for his shows.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at November 6, 2005 2:32 PM

Tice:

The guys behind the xxxchurch (I NEVER thought I'd ever hear that) are the sort of folks you've been decalring didn't exist within organized religion.

Who said that? (I sure hope you don't think it was me. There are reasons why I restrict my criticisms.)

I linked to xxxchurch/the Goofballs over others because they are better-positioned to handle the issue sensibly than pretty much anyone else I've seen advocating that model in a ministry context. I'd much rather someone new to the issue go there first than to, say, Boundless. I disagree with their methods and I disagree with the premise of their ministry, but they are not the problem and I mean them no ill will. You'll notice it's not them I actually attack.

The addiction label might occasionally -- rarely -- be fair. But it's very easy to abuse the concept of addiction, and to dilute its meaning to the point where you both devalue people who do unquestionably experience it and make it far more difficult to resolve your own situation. This isn't unique to the porn instance, or to the Church; remember that the twelve-step programs have extended all the way out to stuff like Clutterers Anonymous. *Clutterers.*

I firmly believe that there are way more people in the Church being suckered into the porn addiction model than there are people who are actually struggling with a porn addiction, and I said as much. And if the goal with that approach is, at the end of the day, profit-oriented, it's the Church that suffers as well.

If porn or masturbation or watching Clark Gable movies or whatever is something you don't want in your life, misclassifying the role it plays for you is going to make the problem harder to shake. You are going to keep getting set up for failure, because you're not attacking the right problem to begin with. (Consider two completely different physical disorders with similar symptoms. Taking the wrong drug could cause you more problems than it solves, if they get it wrong.) But addiction is seductive and easy to sell; focusing on your powerlessness over the Shiny Thing if that wasn't originally the issue could, over time, bring about the very thing you think you're escaping.

Of course that's toxic. It's got nothing to do with whether it's okay to masturbate at all.

Comment from: Ray Radlein posted at November 6, 2005 4:48 PM

I wasn't expecting "emotional affairs," which is what chicks are supposed to do. I don't think I have the language to express the ire that concept inspires in me. An emotional affair can be anything from what really is a romantic relationship with someone you haven't got leeway in your central relationship to pursue, up through and including a goddamned crush on Clark Gable. I kid thee the heck not.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Courtly Love.

[No, that's not Kurt Coobain's widow]

Next week, perhaps we'll get the Renaissance. Or the Black Death. Whichever.

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 6, 2005 4:49 PM

Of course, if you're truly helpless, it's something you need help with, perhaps even addiction.

But if you tried marijuana once in college, you're not a drug addict. Anyone who tells you that you *are* has a problem.

Alcoholics Anonymous gives away items to those who are trying to stay sober. They *give* them away, they don't sell them in the gift shop. Thus, it's a reward, not a "pledge." It's a gift, not a sale.. and it comes from a much purer place, within, I think.

I'm with you on this one, Ms. Weds. I do have a healthy spiritual life, close personal relationship with my own, very unique, perspective of Deity. I believe everyone should find the inner Truth that works for them, and for some people, it means they don't have a spiritual life. That's cool.

Shit like this... not only is it bilking people for their money, playing on their insecurities and naivete, and setting them up to fail all at once, it's also doing the thing that I resent most in the world about religion. It's abuse, using the faith people have placed in their church, rather than their own sense of the divine, against them, to control them, to make them even less confident in their own inner spirituality.

that makes me spitting mad. Thanks for posting this, Weds!

Comment from: storiteller posted at November 6, 2005 6:38 PM

In a lot of ways, this commercialism is a lot like a phenomena called altar calls, which is where a pastor calls people up to "make a committment to Jesus in their lives." A lot of times, this practice can actually be positive for people. But at large youth group conferences, it turns into a social pressure-fest, causing someone to make a committment that they don't mean just because everyone else is doing it. Of course, at the time they don't realize that they're doing it because of social pressure. I think the same thing happens with these "purity" ceremonies. So what happens is that once they fail in whatever they committed to - virginity or a general committment - they feel like no one in the church will support them, because of that social pressure put on them in the first place. Except that the virginity issue is even worse, because it's compounded with this awful commercialism.



In short, I totally agree with you in this. I'm Christian and try to be as anti-materialism/commercialism as possible to show that not all Christians are into this stuff. But it's still frustrating to see this going on, especially since it's one of the most vocal parts of modern Christianity. Not to say that I fulfill this verse, but whatever happened to, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal"?

Comment from: Tice with a J posted at November 6, 2005 8:29 PM

I guess what really rots my socks is that none of you mentioned the Jesus Loves Porn Stars shirt. How could you not find that funny?

But Wednesday, I now concede that you are right. Our country is "12-step" happy. There is no issue so minor, but someone will declare it to be an addiction and a plague, and will begin selling books.

In terms of addictive plagues, of course, I consider porn to be the genuine article. It does bad things to brains.

Comment from: Wistful Dreamer posted at November 6, 2005 11:50 PM

"In terms of addictive plagues, of course, I consider porn to be the genuine article. It does bad things to brains."

I would say that it CAN do bad things to the brain. Most people that partake in it are simply utilizing the visual aspect of their sexuality. (the American model of large corporations making profit from damaged, expendable young (men and) women is another issue that deserves its own article).

Weds: I like this article. It was strong, insightful, and persuasive. However, I don't think that the beginning and the end quite met up. Profiteers making money off of the penitence of people set up to fail: point made. Porn can't be an addiction: point sort of made. Obsessive-compulsives can have anything spin out of control without outside influence pointing out how far they've gone (and in my puritanical country, for one, porn is something one does without others watching). I'm not sure the addiction model is faulty, although people certainly shouldn't make a profit addressing it. The point about false ideas of only men partaking in porn or straight women not recognizing breasts as sexual objects was particularly confusing. I get that you were talking about false assumptions about porn, but not exactly what past that.

I guess I still like it. A little incomplete, but a really good point and perfect spelling/grammar. Good job on the unsober writing. As someone who routinely websurfs while letting his sleeping pills kick in (and having to resist the urge to post past the point of coherence), I know how hard it is. Kudos (or biscuits, can readers send them your way?).

Comment from: Meagen Image posted at November 7, 2005 3:02 AM

The Christian views on sexuality are the main reason why I'm not a Christian anymore.

Comment from: W. I. Shane M. posted at November 7, 2005 4:51 AM

Tice with a J- if you think the internet is trippier than drugs you haven't been doing the right qualities of drugs in the right quantities.


Meagan Image- I'm sorry to hear that, did you know most Christain groups don't think there's anything you can do to lose salvation after you had it? (some believe leaving Christianity is an 'unforgivable sin').


I'm a Christian and I think I agree with everything Wednesday said. I go to a church that meets in a Goodwill building. There aren't any sermons, Bible study meets in a tattoo parlor, and they forget to collect money half the time because money isn't important to them. We have lunch together every week but they always cook enough to give more than half of it to a homeless shelter.


I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all of my hyprocritical, materialistic, greedy, pompous, prideful, self-hating actions as well as those of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I'm so sorry I've got it printed on a fucking T-shirt. God said, "I desire love, not sacrifice." but legalism is a hell of a lot easier for people to understand. Please trust me when I say most of them mean well, they want to be able to do things or not do things and thus PLEASE GOD. Love that "surpasses all understanding", that's what Christianity is about.

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 7, 2005 7:13 AM

'unforgivable sin'

Oooooh this bit, here. How can such a thing as this be possible? Isn't this motivation to God through fear? What about Last Rites, or even a deathbed plea to God for forgiveness? Both of these ideas are standard-issue concepts that come with the Christianity model.. wouldn't this negate any sin considered "unforgivable?"

I can't tell you how many times I've seen people who claimed that God loves us all unconditionally turn around and call something "unforgivable." This, to me, negates the whole unconditional proposal.

The Christian churches of the world wonder why so many of their youth - even those who are quite active during their childhood and teen years - move into trying pre-Christian beliefs, other organized religions, or even into agnosticism. Rather than attempting an even larger brainwash effect, perhaps they should examine the fact that, for many, it is the inconsistencies of the church doctrine which drives these young adults away.

Okay, okay, shutting the rant off now. Hot spot for me, sorry, no offense meant to anyone.

Comment from: UrsulaV posted at November 7, 2005 10:08 AM

Just 'cos I'm that sort of person, I'll mention that I was under the impression suicide was an unforgiveable sin, at least in practice, 'cos...well...you were kinda dead, and thus unable to go say "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned, I offed myself."

That has no real bearing on porn, I'm just a nitpicker.

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 7, 2005 11:03 AM

Ursula: okay, now the suicide thing makes sense. On account of the being dead and all. And, well... what's a worse crime than throwing away the life you're given?

There are still circumstances where even that shouldn't be unforgivable, methinks. For instance, what if you commit suicide by diving on a grenade and saving your platoon? Is that valor, or suicide? You still took your own life, and didn't have time to say "oh, Father, I'm sorry."

One of my biggest problems with any hard-line religious ruleset is that there are always times when someone doing the wrong thing for the right reason gets totally screwed. I can't believe that a loving God would say "oh, I'm sorry, but you broke the Rules, even if by doing so you did save someone else's."

Surely, if God is indeed a Divine Parent, He/She is going to look at what was in one's heart when they made a particular choice, rather than just the actions behind it. If you euthanize your pet because their back is broken and they're set for a long, slow, painful death anyway, did you "Kill your pet" or did you "Ease their pain?" It's what is in your heart that matters, and surely that is what's weighed at the end, eh?

According to so many "authorities," the answer would be that the letter of the law, rather than its spirit, is what matters. Bah to that, sez I.

Comment from: Jonny G posted at November 7, 2005 11:29 AM

I'm not sure I understand this snark.

Is the point that Lifeway has set an almost unattainably high moral standard? Or that Lifeway makes money from their programmes?


I personally find the Every Battle series a little extreme, considering that I don't have sexual fantasies whenever I see joggers go past. But then, I've talked to people who have found the books to be deeply meaningful and helped them with their relationships. I find it very difficult to argue against a life transformed, even if I don't appreciate the grace-free condemnatory tone of the books or the campaigns.


As for making money off the whole affair (heh), Lifeway is a non-profit organisation whose financials are freely available to download off their website. Of course, it's in useless American accounting standards, so we can't see their directors fees, but they're still open and honest about what they do. There's nothing immoral or unbiblical about earning a fair wage.


So, no, maybe its just me, but I just didn't get it this time around. Sorry.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 7, 2005 12:00 PM

Surely, if God is indeed a Divine Parent, He/She is going to look at what was in one's heart when they made a particular choice, rather than just the actions behind it.

According to such Catholic catechism as I've digested (through such agencies as, e.g., George Carlin), judgment is made according to one's intentions. "Mortal sin has to be a grievous offense, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will." That'd be why in Dante (which I happen to have just read for class) the lesser circles of Hell are set aside for "incontinents", those who merely gave in to temptation rather than harming or betraying others.

On the lit class mailing list this morning someone'd posted the URL of a which-is-your-level-of-Inferno meme. I ended up with the virtuous pagans on the top level, which is two up from the gluttons' level which was what I was afraid of.

If you're interested: http://www.4degreez.com/misc/dante-inferno-test.mv

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 7, 2005 2:22 PM

huh. I guess I'm worse than I thought. I'm apparently doomed for the 7th circle of hell, that reserved for violent killers. Oh, wow, they're on to me. I'm a 34-year-old, overweight, mothery type, and according to the little test there, I'm secretly an axe murderer.

heh.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at November 7, 2005 2:51 PM

I though every soldiers' battle was, you know, soldering.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at November 7, 2005 2:58 PM

Also, I'm aparently going to the 6th level of hell, for some reason or other.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 7, 2005 9:17 PM

Maybe for punning?

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 7, 2005 9:22 PM

Also: people end up taking strength, identity and meaning from a lot of different ideologies, and I do consider some of them dangerous and harmful, like the "ex-gay" movement, for example. Probably the people who have "reformed" and found religion and are preaching this are doing it because it made them feel great and now they feel connected to something, but I think the movement and the ideas behind it are making the world a worse place and damaging the psyches of whatever number of people.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at November 7, 2005 9:59 PM

Actually, it wasn't a pun, it was a spelling error. I meant soldering, which I'm pretty sure is a word (I know i've heard it somewhere).

Also, the 6th level thing is because of being an atheist.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 8, 2005 12:13 AM

I knew what you meant (it is a word) but I thought it was really funny and decided to link it up with your other thing and, uh, yeah.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at November 8, 2005 12:17 AM

I'm confussed know, because I don't see the pun of which you speak

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 8, 2005 12:56 AM

Oh, well, er, sort of conflating solder with soldier... kind of a visual... pun? Cuz, you know, with the -ier being not atypical of person-who-does endings, and the... yes?
Also, I'm probably just crazy and/or missing something, sorry for inflicting my native state of confussion on others (I like that word!)

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at November 8, 2005 1:24 AM

Acttually, that was kind of what i thought you meant was the pun, I was confused because I thought you said you knew it was a spelling error. I though you saw a pun tha existed with it spelt right, or omething along those lines.

Comment from: Meagen Image posted at November 8, 2005 5:24 AM

did you know most Christain groups don't think there's anything you can do to lose salvation after you had it? (some believe leaving Christianity is an 'unforgivable sin').

I was born, baptised and raised a Roman Catholic. Some of them believe that all the evil sects that reject the Pope's holy authority are all going to Heck.

The God that the Church taught me about is an abusive, manipulative egomaniac. He made me feel that my body is evil, that being good to myself is evil and that I'm never good enough for him. I broke out of that neverending cycle of guilt and I am not going back.

Some people are happy with God in their life. That's fine and all right as long as you don't hurt anybody. But I'm much happier on my own. And if God is going to damn me for being happy, then I *definitely* don't want anything to do with him.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 8, 2005 8:37 AM

The God that the Church taught me about is an abusive, manipulative egomaniac.

Oh, He used to be like that, all right - read Exodus or Job. But becoming a parent changes a guy, honest.

Comment from: Steven E. Ehrbar posted at November 9, 2005 12:05 AM

I'm sorry to hear that, did you know most Christain groups don't think there's anything you can do to lose salvation after you had it?

Most groups, maybe; I'm not aware of how many Christian denominations hold the doctrine of Eternal Security. However, the denominations representing most self-proclaimed Christians don't.

(Specifically: Start by deducting the Roman, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Catholic communions, which compose the majority of [nominal] Christians. We then subtract the [orthodox] Anglicans and Lutherans, which similarly compose a majority of non-Catholic Christians [at least nominally]. That leaves the Calvinist descended Christian Churches. Among the Calvinist-descended sects, there are the predestination churches and the free-will churches. The first say God saved you or not already and you can't ever move from one category to the other whatever you do, so while you can't lose salvation, you can't gain it, either. The free-will "Armenian" denominations are then divided into believers in Conditional Salvation and Eternal Security camps.)

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